A Bird, a Plane, You!

You get to choose one superpower. Pick one of these, and explain your choice:

  • the ability to speak and understand any language
  • the ability to travel through time
  • the ability to make any two people agree with each other


I think the most useful thing would be  to speak and understand any language. It sure beats going back and forth through time.  And I can’t see any point in forcing any two people to agree with each other if they really don’t.

Often, though, I’ve wished I could understand and speak more than English and a smattering of Spanish and German.  I understand more of both those languages than I can speak, and if I see them written, I can sometimes figure out what is being said.

So many other countries begin teaching English to their students when they first start school.  I know there is more of that being done here in the USA, and I hope that trend continues.  It’s all well and good that English has become the universal language of business and politics, but it would be so much better if we Americans were conversant in another widely-used language.

Speaking as an English teacher, I remember well how studying German in high school and college helped me understand English grammar more clearly.  When learning another language, one must memorize verb conjugations, tense, gender, and case.  Doing so helped me understand all those things in English.

As a matter of fact, I wish we were doing a better job of teaching English here in the States.  When I was working on my master’s degree, I wrote 47 ten-to-twenty-page papers.  When you multiply that by 20 or more students per class, it’s a lot of reading for the professor.  One professor handed me a couple of papers my classmates had written and asked me to look them over.  Puzzled, I sat down to read. I was shocked, to say the least, at the poor quality of writing from people in a graduate course.  Punctuation, sentence structure, pronoun usage, simple things like proper spacing and capitalization, were practically non-existent.  When I handed the papers back to the professor, I couldn’t think of anything to say except, “You have my sympathy.”

It’s very difficult to wade through writing that has no paragraphs and no continuity.

We need to do better.

12 thoughts on “Omni-Lingual

  1. I am so agreed! When we studied French one young man in Bob’s class had a degree in archaeology, yet knew very little about English grammar. Bob says this fellow really floundered.

    And one day at a local grocery store checkout I was asked if I’d like to donate to the literacy program at school. The cashier explained that this program helps children learn to read. I told her, “I thought that was what school was all about.” She looked at me like I was pretty dense.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. Yet school is supposed to be all about teaching “learning disabled kids.” At least that’s what my own teachers were trying to do with me. 😉
        (Mind you, there are some disabilities that do take special aids. And a new, structured home would work wonders for a lot of struggling kids I’ve seen.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’re right. Sadly, many schools don’t have the funds and/or staffing to spend the time an LD kid needs. And if all kids came from organized, structured homes—well, I believe a lot of LD would vanish.


  2. I am happy to read this. I am among those who believe that if people knew the real power of language they would spend more time mastering it than anything else. With appropriate language one can open all doors; all hearts. Thus through language we can get what we want.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d want the same superpower as you, but I’d want to be fluent in the Aramaic and Hebrew that Jesus spoke and that the prophets wrote – in order to more fully understand all that God said and did.

    Liked by 1 person

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